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ICM Trends to Watch: AI in Sales Commissions

January 11, 2024
January 11, 2024

In our “ICM Trends to Watch” blog series, we explore the five key trends we’re keeping an eye on in 2024, and dissect the ways in which innovative technologies, evolving GTM (go-to-market) cultures, and more are impacting incentive compensation strategies and revenue performance management.

No matter how you slice it, Generative AI is a game-changer, especially when considering just how much – and how quickly – it’s transforming the way we work.

While it’s not surprising that AI has made its way into  ICM (incentive compensation management), it may surprise you to learn how much of an impact the technology is making, helping take the pain out of admin workflows, more efficiently motivating revenue teams, and improving the impact of commissions programs by surfacing more strategic insights. It’s  an invaluable tool for businesses seeking to optimize their incentive compensation strategies and boost performance – which is why the increased adoption of AI and other innovative technologies is one of the leading trends in our 5 Trends Redefining Incentive Compensation Management report.

It used to be that managing commissions either meant relying on inefficient and error-prone spreadsheets, or clunky legacy solutions that only hired consultants could figure out. Today, however, modern ICM solutions are innovating at a rapid pace to automate the most painful manual tasks, motivate sellers with more visibility and transparency, and offer speed and flexibility in data management to up-level the entire end-to-end commissions process.

The right technology can give you a competitive advantage – as published in the trends report, 67% of sales managers claim sales compensation tools as essential for a best-in-class sales technology stack, and 95% of sales reps agree that a best-in-class sales stack is essential for reaching their targets

As we see it, there are three major opportunities for AI to make a significant impact on your company’s bottom line when it comes to managing commissions, all of which we’ll dig deeper into below:

  • A co-pilot that helps compensation admins work more efficiently, giving them hours or even days back.
  • A payee coach that increases transparency and clarity for reps, helping them stay informed and motivated.
  • A plan advisor that helps identify and surface insights to improve performance of incentive programs.

Increased efficiency for compensation admins

Managing compensation plans can often involve intricate and complex calculations. To help reduce that cognitive load and save compensation admins time, AI-powered technologies – such as CaptivateIQ’s Admin Co-pilot – streamline day-to-day operations by enabling users to interact with the ICM tool through simple conversations, and removing the need to train new hires on complex processes and plan logic. It can also help identify and fix errors, surface the right actions to take at any given time, and guide users through their day-to-day tasks and workflows to simplify administration.

More clarity and transparency for reps

Understanding individual commission payouts and compensation plans can be challenging for reps, especially when those payouts rely on complex mathematics. Gen AI solutions like CaptivateIQ's Payee Coach can provide personalized motivational insights to foster transparency and trust, and empower sales reps to more easily understand their unique situations. Gen AI also helps reps understand the quantifiable difference between so-so attainment versus over-attainment, shining a light on what just one or two more deals closed could mean in terms of money in their pockets, and boosting sales motivation and performance in the process.

Strategic insights lead to better-informed decision making

AI's ability to analyze vast datasets and then slice-and-dice that data empowers the end user to uncover valuable insights that might have previously been buried under to-do lists of more transactional work. By surfacing desired insights through simple prompts and requests, Gen AI technology like CaptivateIQ’s Plan Advisor can allow plan designers  to derive the insights they need to feel confident in their strategic decision-making, which helps them more effectively contribute to performance optimization and revenue growth.

More and more teams are embracing Generative AI in their workflows, and that of course includes ICM professionals who are just beginning to tap into a powerful tool that can more efficiently drive productivity, efficiency, and strategic decision-making. AI is a game-changer, and its ability to analyze extensive data, provide valuable insights, and simplify complex processes makes it an invaluable tool for businesses seeking to optimize their compensation strategies and boost revenue performance.

Ultimately, harnessing the power of AI allows organizations to get more value out of less incentive compensation spend – and we’re just scratching the surface. To learn more about the many ways AI is impacting incentive compensation management and sales performance, be sure to watch our on-demand webinar, The Power Of AI In Incentive Compensation Management.

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